Williston-Elko’s football program isn’t straying far from its course, as former offensive coordinator Derek Youngblood has been chosen as the next head coach for the Blue Devils.

Youngblood served under Dwayne Garrick – who recently accepted a position on the staff at River Bluff High – for six years, and he said he was as happy for the team as he was for himself.

“We’ve invested a lot of time here with these kids,” said Youngblood of his reaction to his confirmation by the school board on Tuesday. “I was excited for our kids even more than I was excited for myself.”

It’s that relationship with the kids that Garrick said will make Youngblood an asset as both head coach and athletic director.

“Great coach, got a great rapport with the kids,” Garrick said.

Youngblood said he will continue to serve as offensive coordinator because he’s a “film geek” who enjoys the strategy preparation process. Kenny Lipsey will continue to hold the position of defensive coordinator on a staff that was all on board with the idea of having Youngblood as its new leader.

“This was something we all wanted. We wanted the opportunity to continue doing what we’ve been doing here,” Youngblood said. “They were in my corner the whole time.”

That theme of continuing what the program has been doing will extend beyond the names in the coaching lineup. Youngblood said that while the formations and look of the offense may vary some, the nature of the Blue Devils’ offensive attack will stay close to the Wishbone style implemented under Garrick.

That starts with size and strength up front, and while 6-foot-4, 305-pound Taylor Hearn is headed to Clemson in the fall, his sizable counterparts Daniel Smith and Jacob Vargo will be back.

Youngblood will also have running backs Andrew Milligan, Christian Sapp and Devon Fagans to work with.

“The thing about this place is we are what we are,” he said. “We’re always going to have a stable of backs that are going to be good backs.”

Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University. Follow him on Twitter @ASJTimm.